Nothing beats a long walk with your pup on a perfect summer day, the sun warming your face and a gentle breeze blowing through your dog’s fur. And, then someone ruins your worry-free stroll by yelling at you; just because your sweet, affable dog wants to play with their dog. All you were going to do was remove your pup’s leash like you have done many times before. Everyone else does it.
Sure, the cruising traffic on Lake Shore Drive is less than a football field away and there is no fence. But, all the neighborhood dogs frolic and chase one another here. This is your dog’s outlet. His social time.
And, you have never had any problems UNTIL you reach to unclasp the leash from your pooch’s collar. Then, three people start clattering “they are not friendly”, “get your dog”, “it’s illegal to take your dog off leash here”, “PLEASE, get your dog”; “THEY DON’T WANT TO SAY HI”.
And, you walk away with your happy-go-lucky, loves-other-dogs pooch. Annoyed. Those people were so rude.
No, those people were responsible. Those people were alarmed, surprised and doing your sweet pup a HUGE favor by not letting him rush their dogs’ faces. And, those dogs were really rattled because they never hear their two-legged friends use the harsh, loud tone of voice that they heard when you startled them.
We were these people. From a distance, Mindy and Wally look like nice dogs. And, they are. They are both awesome. But, what you would never know unless you asked is how much work went into Mindy’s training for her to be able to stand three feet away from Wally, sitting calmly on leash and looking at her mom with a soft, knowing gaze that she will be rewarded if she continues stay relaxed. If you would have seen us when we first met dear Mindy; you would have yelled at us from much further away because she was easily startled, nervous and would have barked, lunged and spun in circles if she caught a glimpse of your dog. You would have never been as close as you were with your amiable dog.
We LOVE happy, social dogs. We want them to stay neighborly; to continue to wiggle and squirm at the sight of every single canine they see on the street. We are sorry if we came across as impolite. But, if your dog came any closer to our leashed dogs who were both paying attention to us; they would have barked. Our pleasant pups do not like other dogs in their face. And, if your pooch is uber sensitive, that one bluster could negatively change his behavior, forever. We would not want that for your pup. And, you were super lucky. Mindy and Wally are noisy. But, not dangerous, in any way. If your darling dog rushed the face of a different dog, you might not be as fortunate. Dog attacks can be brutal. And, nothing ruins a delightful walk more than a trip to the emergency room.
When you do not ask the person holding the leash of a dog you do not know “does he or she want to say hello?” a fun outing on a beautiful day can turn tragic, very quickly. And, we truly believe you would not want that for your dog. We want your pup to stay goofy and to always adore other dogs. So, please, ask. Without one question, “does your dog like other dogs?” your life and your dog’s life could change FOREVER. And, not in a good way.